Jersey City, Seafaring Town

This trip East Suzi and I stayed in a hotel in Jersey City, my old home town.  The hotel was right on the PATH Tube to New York and the light rail that runs along the Jersey City, Hoboken waterfront and takes us to ferry boats (many made in Sitka including the Jersey City) that carry us across the Hudson.  The hotel is near where my Aunt Janice lives and solved the parking problem I usually have when I visit her.  Jersey City is completely different from when I was a kid.  Buildings soaring to 60 stories rise on the … Continue reading Jersey City, Seafaring Town

St. Paul’s Chapel, New York

St. Paul’s Chapel is one building near the site of the twin towers which was unharmed by the attack but, somehow, utterly transformed.  When, as a kid, I made my annual trip to Manhattan, we would always stop at St. Paul’s.  It is an 18th century Georgian chapel and is the oldest public building in continuous use in New York City.  When my grandfather took me there it was all about George Washington, who worshiped there right after he was inaugurated President.   My immigrant grandfather held this place sacred and it was one of the tools, along with the Statue … Continue reading St. Paul’s Chapel, New York

Irish Hunger Memorial, Battery Place, New York

Whenever I visit the city I find something new and striking. This trip I thought it would be the 9/11 memorial, but it wasn’t– it was Brian Tolle’s Irish Hunger Memorial near The Battery.  It transports a stone cottage from Co. Mayo and integrates it with a modern building that has illuminated strips with quotes about hunger, drawing our attention not only to the Irish famine, but hunger and famine today. From some angles it looks like an Irish hillside, with the plants that grew when fields in Ireland went fallow. Since it looks over water from some angles you … Continue reading Irish Hunger Memorial, Battery Place, New York

St. Croix River Soo Line High Bridge

I love the iron and steel constructs built between the American Civil War and the First World War. Many were built by the railroads, the wonder train sheds of Europe. But the US has its share of railway architecture. The St. Croix River Soo Line High Bridge is a magical construct of steel latticework. I never tire of taking a boat down to the bridge just to marvel at how, more than a century ago (in 1909) folks made such a wonderful and beautiful structure.  I love how delicate the lacework pattern of iron and steel can look. Make sure … Continue reading St. Croix River Soo Line High Bridge

St. Olaf College

The family recently visited St. Olaf College.  (See two earlier posts, “Remembering WCAL” and “A Professor, an Art Barn and a Lifetime of Enjoyment.”) I had not been on campus for a while.  We went, specifically, to see what St. Olaf did to Boe Memorial Chapel to improve its acoustics and to look at the new Regent’s Hall Science building and find out what happened to the Flaten Art Barn and the old science center.  We liked what we saw.  The center of the campus is automobile free and the open lawn now has lots of shade trees and a … Continue reading St. Olaf College

A Professor, An Art Barn and A Lifetime of Enjoyment

Liberal Arts educations are often derided in the popular press today.  Today the reason for a college education seems to be to find a job not to find a life or a vocation.  I’ve never regretted the broad liberal arts education I got at St. Olaf College.  Sure, it gave me skills to function in the workplace but more than that it gave me insight in how to live an enjoyable life, in finding a vocation. When I look back at my college time from the perspective of 50 years the one course that stands out, providing me more lifetime … Continue reading A Professor, An Art Barn and A Lifetime of Enjoyment

Target Field, July 4th weekend and Tanaka Pitches, what could be better?

A great way to spend part of the July 4th weekend is at a ball game.  For the second year we enjoyed watching the Twins loose to the Yankees at Target Field.  Our tickets were tagged “Skyline View” because we could see the Minneapolis Skyline probably better than the action on the field.  But it was a great day, nice crowd, a lot of fun and fireworks at the end. The one disturbing thing was the cost.  –our people, upper deck “Slyline View” Seats, 4 hot dogs, 4 drinks, 4 Cracker Jack and parking came to close to $275.   When … Continue reading Target Field, July 4th weekend and Tanaka Pitches, what could be better?

After 238 Years, Jefferson Still Lives

238 years ago in Philadelphia John Adams moved a resolution written by Thomas Jefferson.  It read, in part: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” The 4th of July is a civic holiday, where people of all sorts gather to celebrate a common belief. I tell the same story every Fourth of … Continue reading After 238 Years, Jefferson Still Lives

Yankee Stadium

If my parents could see me they would die a second time.  Last night Suzi and I went to Yankee Stadium and I rooted for the Yankees.  I was thrilled when the Yanks popped 4 homers and scored 9 runs in the second inning.  I cheered when the scoreboard showed Baltimore losing to Tampa Bay giving the Yanks sole possession of first place with two games left in the season.  At the end of the game I sang along with Frank Sinatra, long gone but still beloved , in a chorus of “New York, New York.” We had planned to … Continue reading Yankee Stadium

Jefferson’s Monticello, Reflections on Our Democracy

I wrote this on my 55th birthday, November 21, 2001.  We had just finished work in Serbia and Kosovo and were home.  We had been expats for the better part of 8 years.  We had no idea what we would do next, but we came home to a different America.  We had watched the World Trade Center Towers collapse on CNN from Kosovo. We had worked with independent media in Serbia, Albania and Slovakia.  Our re-entry to the States was a road trip across country, from New Jersey to Bellingham, Washington and the ferry that took us home to Alaska. … Continue reading Jefferson’s Monticello, Reflections on Our Democracy